The second leg of the America vs Leon Liga MX Final will be played this Sunday, December 15, 2013 (4:00 PM Pacific) at the historic Estadio Azteca. Leon took a decisive 2-0 victory at the Nou Camp this past Thursday, proving that La Fiera is the best team of the Apertura 2013 playoffs. Don’t count Club America out yet though, America can still win the title if it defeats Leon by three or more goals, or force overtime if they win by a two goal difference.
Leon was absolutely outstanding in last Thursday’s game. Matosas’ team dominated large portions of the match, created several scoring opportunities, and most importantly, took a 2-0 lead that could prove to be decisive. Leon’s key players came up big, apparently electrified by what could arguably be considered Mexico’s most passionate fans (which, at times turn to violence).
Gullit Peña had a great game, he was responsible for managing Leon’s midfield, and capped it all off with a fantastic goal. Mauro Boselli, Leon’s and the Liga MX’ most prolific goal scorer this season, also showed up with a good display. Boselli scored the second goal of the match for Leon, a goal which could prove to be decisive.
On the defensive front, Rafa Marquez had yet another great playoff game, leading the Leon defense, and stopping America, a team that had scored a goal in every single playoff match it had played. Yarbrough also had a good game, even though he didn’t make any sensational stops, he avoided any costly mistakes.
Overall, Leon played a near perfect game, and could have easily won by three or more goals. Matosas did a great job with his squad, and at many times appeared to be out-coaching Miguel Herrera.
Club America are facing an extremely difficult opponent that completely outplayed them in the first leg of the championship series. Down by two goals, America appears to be in trouble. However, the Azulcremas have one huge, historic, item in their favor: the Estadio Azteca.
During the regular season, Club America earned 22 out of a possible 24 points at the Azteca, scored 18 goals, and allowed only four. In the playoffs, America tied Tigres 1-1, and defeated Toluca 2-0. Overall, America has won eight out of ten games at home, and tied twice – invincible at the Azteca. The Estadio Azteca will, of course, be completely packed for the final, every America fan is hoping to witness a historic bicampeonato.
Although America’s home record is impressive, Leon’s away record in the playoffs is equally, if not more, impressive. Leon tied 3-3 against Morelia in the quarterfinals, and 2-2 against Santos in the semifinals; Leon has not lost a single playoff match.
Miguel Herrera will have to motivate his players the same way he did when America faced Toluca in the semifinals. America did not play a good game at the Nemesio Diez, and came back to the Azteca needing to win. Herrera pulled off the feat, as his team demonstrated a huge improvement, and defeated Toluca 2-0 in a match where the Diablos never looked comfortable.
Can America overcome the two goal deficit?
America vs Leon Prediction
Leon has a two goal advantage, it will be up to Matosas whether La Fiera plays a defensive style, or they continue playing their attack-based system. Miguel Herrera must also decide whether he will make any modifications to the 5-3-2 formation he has been using all season long. Given both coaches’ history, I am fairly confident that we will see the exact same tactics both teams usually utilize. Expect another game with plenty of scoring opportunities.
Miguel Herrera will play the same way he has been playing all year long. A 5-3-2 formation, with Layun and Aguilar moving up the sides, providing crosses in for Jimenez and Luis Rey. The two strikers need to be sharp, they cannot miss any opportunities, as they did in the match in Leon.
This second leg of the Liga MX Final should prove to be one of the best matches of the season. Leon is 90 minutes away from a championship, but America will have the support of the home crowd and the extra motivation given by Herrera (this will be his last game with America). I predict Club America will defeat Leon by a score of 3-2, not enough for the championship. Although I believe America will win, I don’t think they will win by a big enough margin. Leon will be the new Liga MX champion.
America vs Leon TV Schedule
The America vs Leon match will be televised this Sunday, December 15, 2013 on Univision at 4:00 PM Pacific.
America vs Leon Highlights
The match highlights and goals will be available soon after the match ends.